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City

FFFC Branching Out

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#1 Offline Baltarc

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Posted Mar 11 2013 - 05:29 PM

City

 

The clamor of a thousand people headed in a thousand directions engulfed me as I stepped out of the taxi cab and onto the pavement. Sirens wailed in the distance; car horns blared at each corner, near and far. The sun had long ago set, but the city seemed no less alive at night than it did during the day. It seemed to me as though I was at the crossroads of humanity, as though every person alive was at this very moment passing through the same city as I was.

 

And it was this city that would now be my home, I realized as I walked toward the building where I’d purchased an apartment a few weeks back. I moved slowly, gazing in wonder at the flashing neon in the window of every business on the street, at the blur of the headlights of cars racing past, at the glow of the street lamps casting pools of light and shadow along the road.

 

It was all completely foreign to me, something that I’d seen maybe once or twice before. I’d lived most of my life far from the city – not quite a rural area, but definitely somewhere on the fringes of the suburbs. I’d always enjoyed that particular setting growing up, always assumed that that’s where I’d live when I was on my own. Sometimes, though, life doesn’t work out the way you expected. Sometimes the only work you can find is in deep in the heart of a massive city on the opposite side of the country. And so you take it, especially if you can find an affordable place to live in a decent area of town.

 

It suddenly dawned on me that, without knowing it, I’d ascended two flights of stairs and had been standing at the door to my apartment for several minutes. I dug the key out of my pocket and slipped it into the lock, twisting it open without too much effort. The door swung open, revealing an empty room, completely devoid of contents save for a window on the far wall and a door into another small room on the wall to my right. My furniture had been shipped by land and was supposed to get here tomorrow, but for now all I had was what I’d brought in my luggage. Which was fine with me. I set my suitcase against the wall and dug out my sleeping bag.

 

As I threw it on the floor, a faint glimmer in the corner of the room caught my eye. A few strides led me to its source: a single penny, glowing dully in the dim light of the window. I picked it up and looked it over. Some said pennies brought luck to those who found them. I’d never put much stock in that sort of thing, but this did not change the fact that, as I looked at the coin, a feeling of hope began to swell within my chest.


Edited by Baltarc, Mar 11 2013 - 05:29 PM.

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#2 Offline Mel

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Posted Jun 05 2013 - 07:27 PM

Official Short Stories Critics Club Charity Review

 

It seemed to me as though I was at the crossroads of humanity, as though every person alive was at this very moment passing through the same city as I was.

 I would suggest "the same city as myself." 

It suddenly dawned on me that, without knowing it, I’d ascended two flights of stairs and had been standing at the door to my apartment for several minutes.

 This feels unrealistic.  I'm very familiar with the feeling of suddenly arriving at a destination, but it's usually a destination that I know.  The protagonist here is going to his apartment for the first time, so he doesn't have the muscle memory to be able to take a mental vacation.

 

I’d never put much stock in that sort of thing, but this did not change the fact that, as I looked at the coin, a feeling of hope began to swell within my chest.

 

I want you to stop and think about a time when you felt hopeful.  Did it really feel like swelling in you chest?  This is an example of telling when you really need to show.  When you feel an emotion, you might have physical and mental reaction, but you don't immediately identify it as a specific emotion.  (How many times has someone asked you "how do you feel?" and you felt that your response was somehow inadequate?)

 

This story had promise, and I was especially interested after the first paragraph.  By the end, however, I felt like I was missing something.  It seems that you were so focused on getting from point A to point B that I lost a lot of the detail that would have made this more interesting.  I feel like it would help if you used less generic language to describe the city itself.  You don't need to name the city itself, but you could delve more into the visual and auditory images as the protagonist experiences, which would give it a much stronger atmosphere.

 

The protagonist's back story could also use some work.  Characterization is the soul of prose, and without any details about the protagonists home I don't have any idea how they felt about it, and by the same token, what kind of person they are.  I feel that in an urge to be "symbolic" many authors seem to strip their characters of all identifying features, which is the exact wrong thing to do.

 

I you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.  And keep writing always.  ^^


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